Sunderland are set to target Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom as their new manager, according to a report by HITC sport

The Mackems are on the lookout for a new boss, after sacking Simon Grayson following their 3-3 home draw to fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers. Grayson, who was only appointed the summer, had won just once in his 18 matches in charge of Sunderland, leaving the side in 23rd position in the league.

Despite being given one of the lowest budgets in the division, the board deemed the results as unacceptable and made the decision to relieve him of his duties.

Robbie Stockdale and Billy Mckinlay have been placed in caretaker charge of the club until a permanent man is appointed. The pair couldn’t arrest the Sunderland slump, as they were defeated 1-0 by Middlesbrough in their first game.

Numerous names have already been linked to the vacant post, including former Boro boss Aitor Karanka and Scotsman Ally McCoist. Heckingbottom is another name who is under consideration by the Sunderland board, after the impressive job he has done at Barnsley.

Following the departure of Lee Johnson, Heckingbottom was appointed as caretaker coach at his boyhood club until the end of the 2016 season. The 40 year old guided the Tykes to a Johnstone Paint Trophy triumph, as well as promotion via the play offs to the Championship. After such a successful spell in charge, he was appointed as manager on a permanent basis.

Despite losing key men such as Conor Hourihane, Alfie Mawson and Sam Winnall, Heckingbottom helped the club to a 14th place finish in their first season back in the Championship. He is regarded as one of the most talented young managers in the country, and it would be quite considered quite a coup if Sunderland were able to prize him to the Stadium of Light.

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